Doug Dewey is a British amateur cyclist racing in France. He is supported by the Dave Raynor fund

Last week I whizzed down to Spain, for a week long training camp with UC Nantes Atlantiques. It went well! After the long drive down, we shacked up in a super-duper glam hotel in the charming resort of Lloret de Mar.

Initially I was sharing with one of the team sprinters, handsome Clement, but after a few nights I was demoted to the single (read: dunce) room, for ‘snoring’. Lies I tell you!! It must be the Spanish air. Anyway, I quite enjoyed the alone time to be honest as the camp was 24/7 French, which is quite tiring.

I was too tight to pay for the web so (other than nipping off to nick MacDo WiFi once or twice) I was technology free. It was actually incredibly relaxing and, fittingly, coincided with my reading a book called ‘Our Winter of Disconnect’ about going screen free for six months. It’s incredibly entertaining and thought provoking – I recommend you read it! (The irony of blogging this recommendation is not lost on me by the way!)

Anyhow, yes, the camp. I found it all good with regards to the riding itself. The French training ‘style’ is certainly somewhat different to mine, but I took it as a lesson in another culture. We boshed out some decent lead-out and race scenario practice and had some super-serious meetings.

Onto the weekend when we had two races in the ‘Course au Soleil’ series, down in Perpignan. As a side note: Perpignan is glorious! I must go back sometime soon.
Saturday was a huge success with Lorenzo getting in the break and cutting a big slice of victory pie for himself. In the race behind, the boys and I did some team bonding/lead-out practice for Clement – all top bombing.

Sunday was another good one, although no win this time. There was plenty of “frotter sale” (translate that as you will) with lots of nice incidents involving roundabouts, road furniture, and not quite stationary oncoming vehicles. Basically, unless you’ve raced a bike you can never fully understand the utter carnage. Man, it was good to be back!

I did some damage on the climb of the day, we got two guys in the break, the break got lost and the race had to be re-started after 75k (LOL) and then it was crosswind time. Heads down, eyes up, guys bombing out left and right. The unmistakeable clatter of broken wheels and carbon skidding along tarmac. At 10k to go we got team orders to drag the break back as mes coéquipiers can’t sprint so well. ‘Sur la plaque’ and 8.5k later we/I have shut the gap to about 40 metres. I blow my nut. The break stays away. That’s racing boys.

The trip away was finished off with us trying to bump start Alexandre’s (the Photographer/Soigneur) car at 11pm at night, after a seven hour drive. We were all cracking up at the ridiculousness (and we failed!) Ha!

I’m looking forward to putting these legs to good use this weekend at the first two rounds of les Plages Vendee races.

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